Review: Cafe 1912
Rating: 2 out of 5
Maybe tonight was just one of Cafe 1912′s off nights. My previous two experiences had been pretty good so I had no reason to suspect a lack of inconsistency going into the meal. The hostess led us into the side room where the aroma was reminiscent of new paint over very old wood. And then for what seemed like an eternity, we waited for our waiter to recognize us and fill our glasses with water.
My first course was the House made terrine served with cornichons and Dijon mustard. At its core this dish was good. The terrine, as the waiter had warned, was tougher than most and not as spreadable. If the chef was indeed going for a tougher texture, then why bother with the accompanying toast points? The first time I went at this dish I used both the dijon mustard and the mustard seeds alongside the terrine. I would have used the cornichon as garnish had they been sliced, but having broken my first toast point while spreading the terrine, I didn’t want to hassle with it. Using both the dijon mustard and the mustard seeds was a mistake as the double-mustard-combo completely overpowered the terrine shortly before making a blitzkrieg up my nostrils. From then on, my bites composed of toast point, mustard seeds, and the terrine. As for the terrine itself, it wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked but nonetheless good.
My second course was the Lamb porterhouse chops with macaroni & gruyère cheese and spinach & pine nuts. This dish was the equivalent of culinary minesweeper. There were good moments, but also bad ones, depending on where I dug in. As requested, the lamb was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, but in general the dish lacked excitement. Seasoned primarily with just pepper, the lamb had a tinge of gaminess to it and was mediocre at best. On occasion I cut too much fat with my lamb, making for a very gamey and rubbery aftertaste. Thankfully, the macaroni and gruyere cheese was there to keep me sane. The cheese was just right, and the chef didn’t go overboard on the salt. The same though can’t be said for the spinach, which tasted like pure salt.
Dessert was especially dissapointing. For a while I debated between the chocolate mousse with shortbread cookies or the Almond cake with lemon sorbet, and port wine syrup. I opted for the latter because the port wine syrup caught my eye. The syrup went on to do much more. The combination of these three elements was about as balanced as an overweight trapeze dancer. The lemon sorbet was, I’m sure, meant to balance the port wine, but in actuality it made the port wine more obnoxious, playing to the sweet side of the syrup. The gritty, slim piece of almond cake was no match for its partners and remained hidden for the entirety of the dish. With every bite my expression was contorted by the lemon twang mingling with the syrupy, bitter, port wine.